The smiles, cheers and hugs at the finish encapsulated the occasion perfectly as the Purbrook Ladies 5 race once again showed it is one of the very best events on the race calendar.
It’s a perfect mix with the main emphasis on fun but also a competitive element – whether it is vying for podium spots, chasing personal bests or completing the distance for the first time.
The hilly course provides a challenge in itself with many either choosing to run it supporting friends and club-mates, or with intent to enjoy a lovely scenic Sunday race, pick up a nice medal, and have a piece of cake (or two) at the finish.
Portsmouth Joggers again did a fantastic job of ensuring the event went smoothly with organisers Rachel Thomas and Naouele McHugh engendering the inclusive feel to the race and also to their Wednesday night training sessions which helped so many in the build-up.
The team of marshals and helpers were awesome, while some of the sprint finishes, the determination to get up the hills – which take their toll during the second half of the course particularly – and the sight of so many offering encouragement to those who needed it around the course, are all ingredients that make for a fantastic event.
It’s also family orientated with the fantastic base at Purbrook Cricket Club providing an ideal place to cheer everyone in.
City of Portsmouth’s Emma Jolley and Emma Montiel were joined by Gosport’s Nikki Moxham and Stubbington Green’s Katie Leatherland at the front early on. They pushed the pace with a rapid 5min 40sec for the first mile.
Jolley managed to open up a gap which she maintained for an excellent victory in 30min 35sec – no mean feat for a course with testing uphill stretches.
The impressive Montiel kept her club-mate in sight as she took second in 30.50.
Moxham, another classy runner, finished third in 31.30 to complete the podium ahead of a strong show from Leatherland to take fourth in 32.11.
The race had 275 finishers out of the 300 entrants with Portsmouth Joggers, Fareham Crusaders, Stubbington Green, Gosport Road Runners, Hatch Warren, Victory and Baffins Fitclub all among the teams very well represented.